2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$639
Speakers

Scandyna Minipod

There are a lot of reasons for people to like computer speakers—they might be super compact, offer excellent audio quality, or just fit your constrained budget. But sometimes, you’ll be drawn to a set just because it looks really cool, as is the case with Scandyna’s Minipod ($639). Available in four different shades, this unique speaker looks sort of like a snowman Buddha in white, with a handsome matte black as our favorite in the bunch.

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$1
Apps

Claus Zimmermann TieSight

Alright, so you never really learned how to tie a tie. Most of the time, that’s OK, but when you’re about to go for that job interview or show up for a wedding, you need to get it right. Pardon the cliche, but yes, there’s even an app for that now. German developer Claus Zimmermann has released his TieSight ($1) app in the Mac App Store, and it’s a surprisingly cool tool: TieSight uses the camera built into your Mac to show you exactly how to properly knot your tie, while you’re wearing it.

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Free
Apps

Apple OS X Lion 10.7.2 Update

The biggest news of the day may be the release of iOS 5 for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches, but there’s updating fun to be had on your Mac today, too. Having been in beta alongside iOS, Apple has released OS X Lion 10.7.2 (Free). This pretty major update brings the company’s iCloud synchronization service and related goodness to your machine.

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$50
Cases

Thule Gauntlet MacBook Sleeve

We’ve featured a plethora of MacBook sleeves in the past, and there’s generally a trade-off between size and function; you have to choose slim or super-protective. Thule’s Gauntlet MacBook Sleeve ($50) offers a nice compromise. This hard-sided sleeve is going to definitely provide more protection than neoprene, even though it isn’t significantly larger.

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$8
Apps

AirServer AirServer 3.0

So, you’ve got a small apartment, dorm room, or just have a need to hole up in your office for a while, and all you’ve got for a screen is your gigantic 27-inch iMac. You’ve got access to great content on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, but how to get that content onto the Mac? That’s where AirServer 3.0 ($8) comes in, acting as a virtual Apple TV inside your Mac.

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Belkin 7-Port Ultra-Slim USB 2.0 Metal Desktop Hub

When it comes to USB hubs, not too much has to be said: Macs always seem to have a need for extra ports. Even the iMac can use a hand from time to time. As a solution for adding extras, we really like Belkin’s 7-Port Ultra-Slim USB 2.0 Metal Desktop Hub ($50). That’s right: you can now have up to 10 USB ports on your desktop Mac, a nice number, right?

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$10
Apps

Bonadies Creative LetterMpress

As the story goes, Steve Jobs kept attending classes after dropping out of Reed College, choosing subjects that he was actually interested in. One that had a profound impact on him was a calligraphy class; what he learned there inspired him to use beautiful fonts on Apple’s computers, a signature feature of all Macs today. That’s why we think he’d appreciate the Mac App Store title LetterMpress ($10) from Bonadies Creative. It allows you to create authentic-looking letterpress prints, right on your Mac.

 

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$100-$150
Peripherals

Iomega Helium Portable Hard Drive

Iomega has been making sleek hard drives for years, but it’s hard to imagine the company creating anything much smaller or simpler than its new Helium Portable Hard Drive ($100-$150) anytime soon. This slab of aluminum is only 4.75” x 3.04” x .61”, and weighs just over half a pound. That’s tiny.

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$8-$80
Apps

Realmac Software RapidWeaver, Analog, Courier + LittleSnapper

At this point, much has been said about the passing of Steve Jobs. On top of “visionary” and “genius,” one of the phrases that’s come up most often is “thank you”—we’ve said it a few times ourselves. Realmac Software, as a way of giving something back, has decided to say thank you in its own way: it’s offering to donate the sales of its software titles to Pancreatic Cancer UK through October 7. All of the company’s apps are beautiful, and available in the Mac App Store.

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$50
Apps

Flying Meat Acorn - The Image Editor for Humans

Pretty much everyone uses Macs to store pictures, but very few people want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on professional-grade editing software. That’s where Flying Meat’s Acorn - The Image Editor for Humans ($50) comes in. It’s a Photoshop-like tool, only less complicated and a heck of a lot cheaper. It allows you to work with layers, add text and shapes, use filters, and more.

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$9
Apps

Kunst-Stoff The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic

Just in time for Halloween, German developer Kunst-Stoff’s The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic ($9) has made its way over from Apple’s iOS devices to the Mac App Store. To say that the concept is weird would probably be an understatement, but that’s part of the charm. Your goal is to get a blob of pudding through a haunted house without fainting from fear, while at the same time trying to scare the monsters in the maze.

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$2
Apps

The Growl Project Growl

The Growl Project’s Growl ($2) has long been worth installing early on almost any new power user’s Mac. Now, the notification tool has been updated to version 1.3, and there are some significant differences. First, it’s only available from the Mac App Store. And instead of being free, it now costs a couple of bucks. But there have been updates to the features, too, so you’ll probably want to shell out the couple of bucks for it.

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$109-$139
Cases

Blackbox Bamboo Cases

Blackbox is yet another example of a company with a cool idea that depended on crowd-sourced funding from Kickstarter, winding up with lots of public support for its Bamboo Cases ($109-$139). Available in custom sizes for all of the machines in Apple’s current notebook lineup, these beautiful, handmade wooden sleeves are sure to attract attention while keeping your computer safe.

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Sonnet Fusion F2QR

We’ve seen plenty of external hard drives for Macs over the years, and while they look different from one another, they tend to have pretty similar features. Sonnet decided to do something different with its new Fusion F2QR ($569): it’s offering a RAID array in a truly portable package. There are actually two 1TB drives in this 5.9” x 6.1” x 0.95” aluminum case, capable of supporting four different storage configurations. The price isn’t cheap, but there’s definitely value in a redundant backup solution that you can carry anywhere.

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€40/~$54
Cases

Case Scenario Space Invaders Sleeve

There are two main factors that set Case Scenario’s Space Invaders Sleeve (€40/~$54) for the 13” and 15” MacBook Pros apart. One is the license from the legendary 80’s video game—the sleeves are available in two different coated-canvas designs: one is white with a black sprite repeated over the surface, while the other has a black background and a rainbow array of space ships lined up diagonally across the sleeve.

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